Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Post Where I Show You My Ex



Since my ex left, I have made an effort to push myself through uncomfortable situations just so that I could prove to myself that I could do it.

Details withheld (I really don't feel like being scrutinized by the trolls) last year the kids and I were offered the opportunity to go on an all expense paid trip to Disney World, a place that my ex and I had previously gone every year. Looking back, it was only place that I really ever felt "happy" with him. Away from his mistresses, drug dealers, and armed with the knowledge that people could hear us through the hotel room walls, he was always on his best behavior and I, so desperately searching for any hint of feeling loved, spent each trip fooling myself into thinking that I was with a man that loved me.




Disney was sort of like a little bubble world for us. We left a lot of the bad at home and walked around each day in the little bubble facade of a happy life; a bubble that would burst the second the plane touched down on the tarmac in the city where we lived.

After my ex left, when the opportunity came about to take the kids, I wasn't sure that I could emotionally handle it. I thought about it and then I booked a room at the same hotel that we had always stayed at. If I was going to get past this, I needed to get through this. I wasn't going to hide from things that hurt me anymore, I wanted to prove that I could be strong in my vulnerability.

So we went on the trip and did it hurt? 

Hell yes it did. 

It seemed like around every corner there was a new memory that came rushing back, it's haunting presence filling my soul like a shadow that I couldn't outrun. I think I spent more of that week wiping tears away then I did smiling; grieving the loss of life that never really was.

Do I wish I hadn't gone?

Hell no. 



I'm so glad that I went. I'm so glad that instead of living in fear, that I lived through my fear. I allowed myself the opportunity to prove that I could do it and when I did, I felt strong.

That has sort of become my theme over the last few years; "if it hurts me, I'm going to do it until it doesn't hurt me anymore."

I purposefully put myself through a lot of things this year that hurt me. I deliberately spent a couple holidays alone just to prove to myself that even if all my friends left and I never had a man in my life, that I would not actually die from spending a holiday alone. When a friend had a baby, I forced myself to go to the maternity ward and I grieved the loss of a father loving over his baby. I went back to where we got married and I sat outside, reflecting on the life that I thought I was stepping into; the life that I was now running from. I went back to our first townhouse and I walked around the grounds; remembering all the nights as a new bride that I had walked around and begged the heavens to make me feel safe in my own home. 

I know all of that probably sounds crazy to you guys, but a life of trauma creates a life of nightmares. I had spent so many years slamming the closet doors shut so that I didn't need to see the monsters inside, that I needed to go back, pry open the doors, turn the lights on, face the monsters inside, and shut the doors on my own free will.

The pain is still there, but it's no longer a mix of memories where has life failed me. I've built new memories on top of the bad ones; one by one topping off a painful experience with the memory of coming back to conquer it.

As you all know I was supposed to go to court on Tuesday. Well a last minute phone call from my ex threw a wrench into our plan and caused Mr. Attorney Man to have to continue the case. Again. Mr. Attorney Man went to court without me and then because I had to give him some paperwork, I briefly met him at a donut shop down the street from the courthouse.

(Where I might add, that I attempted to bully and eventually guilted him into eating a pink frosted donut, by
paying for his entire order while he stepped away from the counter for a minute. He didn't seem super thrilled, but I on the other hand, was feeling quite proud of myself since I had been trying to get him to eat that damn pink donut since early on in my divorce. Why you may ask? Because the man pulls off court flawlessly while I show up every time like a blubbering idiot. What better way to make yourself feel a little better than seeing your very professional attorney sitting in a suit and eating a pink frosted donut? P.S. I never claimed to be normal. He on the other hand, was a good sport about it.)

So since the case had to be continued Mr. Attorney Man is going to take this time to once again try and get my ex to settle, which would be fabulous, seeing as how I hate going to court.

Mr. Attorney Man used to look at my ex in court and say something to the effect of my ex not being scary or big (Sorry Mr. Attorney Man, I'm totally throwing you under the bus here), but to me, he's huge. He is the monster that destroyed me. At his height of 5' 10, that puts him seven inches taller than me. He's maybe only 40 pounds heavier, but my 5'3 105# frame never stood a chance against his drug fueled rage.

Yea, I didn't really work to hard to hide his identity but trust me when I say the last few years of meth have now transformed him into someone I don't even recognize

It's scary knowing that someone else has the ability to control your life. That everything about you down to the choices that you make and the skin you are in, is controlled by someone else.

For a long time, even after the abuse ended, long after he was gone, I just couldn't shake the fear that was him. I tried, time and time again to pry open the door, look at the monster, and yet all I ever did was slam it shut again and run for my life.

I'm tired of it though. I refuse to live in fear anymore. I just simply can't do it. I can't live every moment waiting for him to come out of the shadows of my life. I needed to let the fear go and the only way I knew how to do that was to wrangle the monster, which is why I said I had finally decided to take legal action.

So as Mr. Attorney Man and I were talking about my case, I found myself saying "I've had it. I have literally just had it. I have no more patience for this man, no more leeway. If he wants to kill me, then he can come and get me!"

(He then told me that my angry voice doesn't even sound angry. I'm going to have to work on that. So apparently I'm like an angry Furby or something. Like a hopping mad fluff ball.)

Do I really want my ex to kill me? Of course not! I am just so over being scared all the time, over having to constantly wonder what he is going to throw at me next. Part of reclaiming my life is reclaiming a feeling of having control over my life. Not even just a feeling, but actually having some real control when it comes to my ex. That need for control is a big reason why I had so much trouble being ok with settling in the first place. I feel like he is running the show and I'm just not ok with that anymore.




I haven't gotten rid of the fear yet, but at least I'm wrangling the monster.

I opened the closet, I looked him in the face, and then I shoved his ass back to the corner where he belongs.

Even if we settle, will he actually keep up his end of the settlement? I don't know, but what I do know is that I'm tired of being scared all the time. I'm so tired of it, that I'm changing it. I'm shining new light on the situation. I'm replacing all the memories of him beating me down, all the memories of him taking away things that were rightfully mine, and I'm replacing them with new memories. I'm getting back a tiny portion of what I need; my self respect. For once I'm putting my foot down, as the head of this household, and saying that "no, you can't just throw your children away."

I refuse to let him run my life anymore. I refuse to let his irresponsibility and total disregard for anyone but himself affect me and my children anymore.

I always say that you get the respect that you demand. If you allow people to walk all over you, they will.

Demand the respect you expect.

Here I am, raising two kids all on my own, and I refuse to let him ignore that fact anymore. Is going after him financially going to solve all my problems? Of course not. Is it going to stop him from walking all over me? I doubt it.

What it does do though, is level the playing field a bit. It gives me just enough ground to stand on that I can start to build my fortress. It allows me the decency to show him "hey, you sent your army, you used your weapons, and here I am, still standing. You didn't kill me and I'm ready to fight back."

It's not everything, but it's something.

When you feel like your entire life has spiraled out of control, grab something. Grab whatever you can reach and hang onto it. Entire tree's grow from a single seed; tree's that are used to build us shelter and keep us safe.

You don't need to start with the entire house; just find a seed, plant it, and tend to it while it grows. If you want the shelter from the storm, you must first start with the seed.

You don't need all the answers right now, just start with the seed and see what grows.









29 comments:

  1. No offense to Mr. Attorney Man, but I hate that way of thinking. "He's not that big so why were/are you so scared of him!?!?" A person doesn't have to be big to be terrifying. I spent more than two decades terrified of my mother and she's 5'0" and 100lbs. I've been taller and heavier than her since I was 14.

    I'm so sorry you've go so much anxiety around court. I can't say I can relate because I've never had to go to court, but I can imagine it's hell, especially someone going for the reasons you've got. Maybe it's for the best that you didn't have to go and maybe Mr. Attorney Man can get your ex to just concede to the settlement and you'll never have to go to court again. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

    The other parts of this post make me so happy for you. That you're fighting back, going back to the places you were hurt and dealing with those feelings, and replacing the bad memories with good ones. Kudos to you!

    And now I want a donut. Preferably with pink frosting. ;)

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    1. In his defense he is really good at understanding why I am scared of him, I think it's just more of a guys awkward way of being like "aw don't be scared of him, he's not even that big." Lol. But yes, I would say that the majority of people don't understand the long lasting imprinted TERROR that comes from an abuser. My mother still terrifies me and she was mostly just verbally abusive.

      I sure as hell hope we can settle, especially since the next court date is exactly at the time I should be dropping my daughter off for her first day of elementary school. Booo!!!!!

      One pink frosted donut coming right up!

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  2. You always say what's on my mind Eden! I was really just thinking these past few days that the way to recover from memories of abuse is to replace them with new stronger memories of empowerment and good things, and that reenacting a traumatic memory behaving the way you wish you had is therapeutic. I had also thought that people get the respect they expect (so it's terrible if you were raised not to expect respect) AND that hanging onto even one small source of empowerment will get you through a storm. Everything you say is exactly as I have thought! If only I could get them to happen now. This is why I love you. Keep being awesome Eden! I hope you have time to do some fun summer activities with the kids :)

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    1. Look at me, I'm a little bit psychic!! Haha!

      I love you to my dear. You can do it! Look at me, I keep getting knocked on my ass and I'm still chugging along. Here, ((()))) this is me grabbing your hand and taking you along for the ride ;)

      **hugs**

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  3. This guy gives off major douchebag, machismo problem vibes.
    Gross, gross, gross, GROSS.

    And what's up with his hair?

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  4. Thanks for putting up photos of your ex Eden. We were always curious (about the face of the man we loathe) ;-) Yay for disney world!

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    1. I figured you guys would like to FINALLY see him lol!

      So, what's the verdict? Smaller than what you had in mind??

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    2. No way! And those tattoos are scary...

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    3. You should see the one that covers nearly his entire torso. It's like this screaming dying demon face thing. Almost beats the one on his shoulder of a rat eating a guys face. That was always fun to snuggle up too. ((blech))

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  5. That tree picture you took is really cool. You actually take a lot of neat pics. I love the bridge photo

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    1. Aw thanks! My phone has a suprisingly good camera sometimes!

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  6. (((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))) You are so very brave, I am in awe of your strength.

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    1. Awwwwwww!!!!!! ((blushing)) Well thank you!!

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  7. The Angry Furby! That's your new official title. *hugs* Love that you're taking this awful experience and turning it into an opportunity for empowerment. I also love that you bully Mr. Attorney Man. So awesome!

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    1. Haha!! I actually told Mr. Attorney Man that I was going to go Angry Furby on him yesterday. Hahaha!

      Yes, I bully him. I have no idea why he let's me stick around....

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  8. The pictures of your ex make me feel sick to my stomach. Especially the one where you can see his eyes. Good job facing your fears. I need to do this too. I have been procrastinating buying the tickets for the first big trip I've taken my children on alone because I'm scared. You just inspired me to go buy them. Thanks.

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    1. I KNOW!!! THE EYES OH MY GOSH!!!! They could seriously shoot laser beams from them.

      You go girl! Buy those tickets! Not going to lie, it's probably going to hurt. The void in your life will feel very real, but trust me when I say the strength and self respect you will gain from getting through it is a very powerful thing.

      You can do this!!

      Feel free to email me if you need to chat :)

      *hugs*

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    2. Dang, I didn't know you used to be married to Tommy Lee! (Seriously, is that who he tries to look like? Was he a big Motley Crue fan. and decided, I wanna look like HIM?!)

      I don't know how to attach pics but check out the photo at: http://static.gigwise.com/gallery/5426484_tommyleeandpamela.jpg

      Sure looks like your ex can't even be original in his style, right? (Earrings, check...haircut, check... tattoos, check... wild eyes, check...)

      Except of course Tommy Lee has way more money, much better tattoos (and isn't eating up his life and health with meth! He also stayed on good terms with his exes, too.)

      Well, if you are lucky, your ex will run afoul of the law for the meth (or die from it... one can only hope!) I'll bet his teeth are rotten now and his skin awful, right? (Meth is a scary scary thing...)

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    3. Hahahaha!!! Oh my gosh that is funny! Thanks for sharing!!

      Actually, he didn't have bad teeth, he had NO teeth when he left. NONE. NONE AT ALL. ((shudder)) Now I don't mean "he had none and then got dentures" I mean he had NONE. They literally just disinegrated right out of his head.

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  9. I see a lot of ads all of a sudden... That is totally fine Eden! In fact I would have suggested it, but could you make a little note explanation?

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    1. I was thinking the same thing about the ads.

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    2. Yes!! I singed up with the BlogHer network. I was going to make a comment about it but I was still playing around with installing and placing them so I wanted to wait until I was sure I was keeping them! (I struggled a lot with the decision to even put them on there). Look for my explanation on the very next post :)

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  10. Eden, I just had such a hard night where my mom actually ended up justifying the actions of one of my worst abusers/assaulters and telling me that I'm flat out wrong in saying I've been abused. I've spent a few hours now hiding away, lost for words, and feeling empty. But this made me cry. What you said about planting the seed, and you setting the example of that.. it's just what I needed to read. I didn't mean to make your personal post about me. But thank you for what you do here. It really, truly is meaningful and important, as are you, and I'm so grateful. You gave me the strength I needed tonight to keep watering and weeding my little tiny recovery/healing tree, and I appreciate it. You're one of the best role models anyone could have. So proud of you and how far you've come, and rooting for you every single step of the way <3

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    1. I agree. Eden, you are THE best role model for people healing from abuse.

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    2. Also, I'm very sorry Lotus. :( I know how awful invalidating mothers are. Is it possible to stop living with her and keep her at an arm's distance without completely cutting her away? I believe in you and your ability to shed away your initial abuse and the secondary abuse that followed it (e.g. your mother) to the point that it is a foreign memory. There is an amazing life waiting for you in the future! Keep the faith!

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    3. You're very sweet, thank you :) Unfortunately, my other option would be living with my dad, which isn't much better. I just don't have the money to move out yet, especially with the high cost of living in my area. But I'm working hard to save that money up, and I'm getting stronger each day, and getting better at letting these things roll off my back. It makes me feel better just knowing that I'll never be like my parents. Thank you so much for such kind words, they made me smile after a long day :) hope you're well!

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    4. Aw girl :( I wish I could scoop you up and give you a big squeezy hug right now. Or I could punch your mother, your choice :)

      I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. I know it's not easy right now but I promise you, this situation is not all bad. You are growing, you are becoming stronger, and you are being molded into a really awesome person filled with compassion and insight. You are becoming BETTER than she could ever hope to be because you will not live in a closed minded box like she does. I know that this doesn't make it hurt any less, just know that the pain is not in vain, I promise you!!! Whether your experiences make you a better friend or an awesome mother someday, the world is going to be a better place because of what you have unfortunately had to go through. I promise!

      Email me if you need to talk hun!!

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    5. Lotus, "isn't much better" still sounds like it might be a LITTLE bit better... after all, every little bit helps! (I.e., if it would be even a tiny bit less stressful for you to live with your dad than stay with your mom then you should think seriously about doing it.) Just saying... !!!!

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